Two years of arduous UN negotiations to produce a binding global climate deal ended in failure today, after a vague and meaningless political declaration that had been agreed between a small group of global heads of states was consigned to a footnote in the final vote by plenary in Copenhagen. Commenting on the outcome of the COP15, Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms said:
"The world's leaders have failed the planet and failed the people. It is a sad day for global climate action.
"It is imperative that those states and leaders who were responsible for the calamitous outcome in Copenhagen now clean up the mess they have created for global climate efforts. Efforts must be redoubled to ensure a sufficient outcome can be achieved by next year's COP16 in Mexico in order to limit the increase in global temperatures to below 2C.
"The political declaration or Copenhagen Accord, proposed by a select group of heads of state yesterday, was a cop out. The accord was not worth the paper it was written on and falls short of even the modest ambitions that remained for this summit. The process for drafting the declaration was ill-judged and this, combined with its complete lack of ambition, meant its fate to end as a footnote was not unpredictable.
"Clearly, the talks foundered as a result of an irresolvable staring contest between the US and China on how to monitor developing country efforts. However, the EU must share some of the responsibility.
"The EU failure to play its trump card throughout the negotiations, by refusing to raise its emissions pledge to 30%, rendered it irrelevant as a player in the process. We will never know if leadership from the EU could have resuscitated the talks but it is a scandal that, after two years of huffing and puffing, the EU spent most of the time bickering internally.
"We do not have a clear prospect for a legally binding climate treaty but we must continue to work through the UN process to achieve this goal. It is clear that the offers on the table, with all the loopholes, double-counting and trickery, would have committed us to unacceptable levels of warming. These loopholes must have no part of a future climate treaty.
"Copenhagen cannot be the final say for global climate action. We cannot condemn hundreds of millions of people and entire nations to catastrophic climate change. Now, more than ever, we need a fair and legally binding global agreement to limit global warming to below 2C."